Travelling around the world from New Zealand to France again in the pursuit of our dream , I was reminded of a book my Dad gave me when I was about 11 – ‘Le Long Voyage d’une Lettre’. The book recounted the journey a single letter took to reach its destination, detailing the many and various steps and stops along the way. As we wound our way from airport to airport to train station over several days this past week, it did feel a bit like a mail run at times, and we are certainly glad to have reached our destination.
Wellington airport – the journey begins.
For those of you who enjoy this blog and have lived vicariously through the tales of our travels, you will pleased to know that a book is coming – soon.
Last August we took possession of our dream house – and our dream life in France. After spending six weeks in the village over winter getting the house set up, it is now available for short-term rentals.
After years of thinking about it, months of writing, weeks of editing, and days of anguishing over every last detail, I have finally finished the book and am ready (maybe) to pitch it to publishers.
It’s not perfect, but it’s about as perfect as it’s going to get without the eye of a professional editor and I have to accept that if it is ever going to stand a chance of seeing the light of day beyond my computer, I have to let it go. Let it go.
Will it be any good? Does anyone want to read it? Since my pitch is premised on the idea that there’s interest, I certainly hope so!
A long-planned weekend in Andorra with my three boys. In January? Expect snow.
I’m posting this report reluctantly because it reveals my dubious decision-making. On reflection, I perhaps should have called off the trip at the start, given the weather. But with a no-refund hotel booking and boys who would have been bitterly disappointed if unable to go, my judgment was biased towards proceeding. Continue reading
For once, we were finally able to use a sled. A toboggan. Being a Wednesday, I had school in the morning. Naturally. It was boring. But while I was at school, Dad went out to a large sports shop near Carcassonne, called Decathlon. They have so many things there, including sleds. Dad got two sleds. One big, red one with brakes, and one small green one that looks a bit like a spade. When I got home from school, we made sandwiches, and Dad, Nicholas and I went into the snow.
Today I join the local walking group on their walk up to L’Arche Perdue, the hole in the rock above Maury. Last month I wrote about that remarkable rock formation and my hope to visit it. This is the walk that was scheduled for last month but cancelled due to high winds. Today is also windy but we do it anyway. I drive to the meeting point at Maury, half-way between Quillan and the Mediterranean coast. We have friends at Maury, very close to the meeting point, so going there brings back happy memories of pit stops and a summer evening barbecue three years ago. Continue reading
With a long weekend ahead of us, Tom and I decided to take the opportunity for a night away in the wine-growing region to the South-East of Quillan.
Driving east on the D117 and not in any hurry, this was our chance to do some exploring along the way, so we planned a relaxed start, a leisurely walk up to one of the many neighbouring Cathar castles, a long auberge lunch, and a mid-afternoon wine tasting on the domaine where we’d booked to stay the night in a simple gite.
When the weather dawned cold, misty, wet and windy on the morning of our departure, we refused to be put off. But it did make for a more interesting and memorable experience.
As I come to the end of day one of our new life in Quillan, the enormity of what we are doing is dawning on me.
The view from my bedroom window at 7 am as an autumn mist hangs over Quillan
Our first stop on our trip to France was in Bangkok, where we did a full day elephant experience at an elephant rescue centre, three hours by car south towards Malaysia. The centre was really fun and they actually had many other types of animals there too. Like sun bears and Asiatic black bears and iguanas and jackals. All the animals that they have at the reserve were rescued by the centre from service.